Outside, the wind had picked up and rain pelted my face as I tried to find him. Where had he gone so quickly? There. I caught movement from the back of the house. No.
“Josh, stop.” But my words were whipped away in the wind. I sprinted toward the garden where this whole mess had started. He was fast, but I was faster. “Josh. Come back to the house. Please.”
He whipped around and clenched his fists to his side, rain pouring down his face, soaking his clothes. His eyes flashed with a fury that made me jerk to a stop. He advanced on me. “Why couldn’t you just leave that book in the well?”
It took everything I had not to step backward. “It wasn’t my fault. I was trying to find that ball. You heard Craig. He wouldn’t leave me alone.”
The seconds felt like hours as we stood staring at each other, waiting for the other one to react. My tears mixed with rain as I took another step forward.
Josh suddenly dropped to his knees and held his head in his hands, sobbing hysterically. I’d never seen him lose his cool like this before. His body shook, and when he looked up at me, his eyes were red. “I just want the voices to go away.”
I crept forward. “Please. I want to help you. Can I do that?”
My heart broke for him, because I’d heard those voices he was talking about. Begging me to help them. Thanking me for freeing them. I’d wondered why I hadn’t heard them for a while. They were full of such … evil. I reached for his hand as Grandma and Mom yelled for me.
“Josh?” I took his hand in mine. “Please look at me.”
He jerked up, and his eyes weren’t right. They were almost completely black, and his smile was twisted into an ugly grin. “Hello, Gwendolyn. We told you we’d be back.”
“No!” I screamed in agony as a pulse of energy flowed from Josh’s hand to mine. It was like our hands had melded together, and I couldn’t let go.
I was thrown to the ground and pain shot through me. The sky went black—no, everything was black. The darkness was all-consuming as something took over my body. I tried to find Josh in the darkness as he laughed in a way I’d never heard before. My heart felt like it was beating through sludge, making it hard to breathe. The pain I’d known from my vision of Josh was nothing like this.
My screams filled my ears until I thought I would explode. And suddenly, it was gone. The pain, the darkness. I slowly uncurled and pushed up off the ground, shivering from the cold rain. It felt like I’d just run a marathon. Josh lay next to me on the ground, and Mom and Grandma stood over us chanting something while waving their hands.
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